CBS Executive VP and DTV transition point man Martin Franks says that talks are well underway with affiliates on a digital network that would "complement or even counterprogram the mothership."
In contrast to NBC's weather channel and ABC's news service, the CBS digital multicasting offering would be entertainment-oriented.
Franks told an audience at the Association of Maximum Service Television annual TV conference in Washington that retrans deals with cable systems are already in place that would deliver the channel to 25 million cable households.
He said he would be "surprised" if the new channel were not up and running by this time next year.
Broadcasters are looking for new ways to monetize their services and recoup some of the "stranded" capital they have invested in the DTV switch.